When the temperature drops, the first thing I crave is chili. The past couple of weeks have been in the high 20s, sometimes flirting in the 30s. My standard crockpot chili recipe is a good standby, but I was interested in creating something different. Usually when I’m searching for a new twist on an old recipe, I turn to my Secret Recipe Club pairing for an idea. Serena and Deanna over at a Teaspoon of Spice did not disappoint.
Fried rice used to be an old standby for us. Have a lot of veggies? Chop it up and saute with a bit of egg and soy sauce. Add some chicken or beef if you’re out for more protein. And one of the best parts about dishes like fried rice is you can easily make double or triple the batch, enough for leftovers and lunches for the week ahead. But at some point the fried rice stopped. I’m not really sure why; I guess we just got tired of eating it. And sometimes (ok, most of the time), takeout was easier, despite the less healthy version.
Being a member of a CSA often requires a lot of creativity. Generally my pick up involves a head of lettuce, a hefty serving of greens and a variety of other veggies. Pick up day is automatic salad day. As beautiful as those lettuces are, getting them to last beyond day one is quite a struggle. After lettuce it’s on to the rest of the haul. The challenging part is quantities. While dozens of tomatoes is never an issue, some of the other veggies can be a bit sparse. Two peppers, a small bunch of radishes, one Japanese eggplant–you get the idea. Most recently I had a pound of green beans to find a recipe for.
This has been an unusually mild summer. I’ve hardly had the air conditioning on all summer except for a few nights. There’s been a calm breeze and sometimes even a bit chilly at night. Still, with longer days, slaving away at a stove to make dinner isn’t exactly ideal. Sometimes raw is the way to go. I’m not talking crazy fancy, restaurant raw food but a simple chopped salad. One of the best things about fresh produce is it needs very little seasoning to make it spectacular.
The last few weeks I’ve been inundated with summer squash. I made the mistake of picking some up at the Greenmarket a few weeks back, knowing I had a CSA share to pick up just a few days later. It just looked so good. I grilled some and figured I’d go though the rest in no time. Apparently not. Thanks to some schedule swapping to accommodate our trip later in the fall, I just picked up 3 straight weeks of CSA shares, all chock full of squash. I love the stuff but this is getting a bit absurd. Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten pretty creative, as you’ll see in some upcoming posts.